CM Deb Rejects Mizoram CM’s Plea to Relocate Brus in Jampui Hills:

The Chief Minister of Tripura, Biplab Kumar Deb refused to put up with the request made by the Chief Minister of Mizoram, Zoramthanga, of reconsideration of assembling the people from Brus in the Jampui Hills and some of the areas of North Tripura on Monday.

He said that whatever the people of the state want would be implemented. Since the year 1997, a huge number of Brus have been living in relief camps in North Tripura district. Due to clashes of ethnicity, they had relocated and moved away from Mizoram. There were several attempts to make them citizens again. However, it was fruitless.

Now, the number of people who are displaced has risen to about 34,000. On January 16, an agreement was signed by representatives of the Brus and the Tripura, Mizoram and the Central governments in New Delhi allowed these tribal people to settle in Tripura.

In a letter, Zoramthanga said Biplab Deb, “There has been ethnic tension and upheaval between the Mizos and Brus both in Mizoram and Tripura and any strain between the two communities in Tripura will no doubt have repercussions in Mizoram and vice versa, which could defeat the very purpose and spirit of the agreement.” This was on May 29.

He requested Deb to reconsider immediately and cancel the proposal for resettling the Brus at the Jampui Hills. It was the traditional habitat of the Mizos in Tripura.”I do not know how he can make such a request. What the people of Tripura want would be implemented. We live in a federal structure. If he had anything to say, he should have told it to the Union home minister or the prime minister.”, Deb informed when asked about the issue here.

Zoramthanga mailed a letter on this issue to the Home Minister Amit Shah on that day itself. The letters to Deb and Shah followed a recent demonstration by the members of an NGO of the Mizos who are not supportive of the Bru resettlement in Jampui Hills, claiming that it would have a socio-economic, and political impact. It will result in inter-community clashes and exploitation of the available resources. Mizoram Bru Displaced People’s Forum General Secretary Bruno Msha said, “We consider Zoramthanga’s request a veiled threat to the Brus who are living in Mizoram for ages.” Two out of the proposed twelve sites for resettlements were agreed upon by all. “They had some objections about the other spots and a discussion is on,” he stated.

On January 17, the Chief Minister of Tripura had said, “It will take at least six months to resettle the 34000 odd members of the community.” Each Bru family would get a plot of 1,200-square-foot and Rs 1.5 lakh to build a house, a four lakh rupees fixed deposit and Rs 5,000 per month as per agreement. They will also be getting free ration for the next two years. A total amount of about Rs 600 crore was sanctioned to resettle them within Tripura.

The agreement was signed about a month and a half after the ninth attempt to return Brus failed. Of the targeted 4,447 families, the chief minister had said only 350 could be repatriated. The Bru issue started in September 1997. The killing of a forest guard in the Dampa Tiger Reserve in Mizoram by the insurgents of the Bru National Liberation Front on October 21 that year, aggravated the situation. The first attempt of repatriation of Brus from Tripura was made in November 2009.